Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Quitting Smoking. Again.

People are often surprised to find out I am, or was (depending on when you catch me), a smoker. I’ve never been a pack-a-day kinda guy – more like a pack-a-week – but still enough for me to feel it in my lungs when I’m smoking, and feel it in my gut when I’m not.

Right now, I’m not. It’s been a few days, so the hard part should be over. But it’s the routine stuff that’s hard to change. I miss the excuse for a walk. The multi-tasking when walking the dogs. The reward for a task well done. The selfish pleasure of taking a few minutes out of every day to do something just for me.

The strangest part is, for the last few days, I’ve had this constant nagging feeling that I’ve forgotten something. I’m sitting on the couch wondering, what was it? I took out the trash, moved the car, paid the bills. What did I forget?

It’s every nicotine-addled cell in my body crying out for a fix. It’s my dopamine-starved brain, pinching me in the back of the neck, yelling, “Hey stupid! Go do that thing! You know the one.”

I’m not willing to say I’ll never smoke again. But, for now, I’ve had enough. And I’ve quit enough times to know that this feeling will pass. New routines will develop. And, for a while, I might be able to live up to everyone’s expectations of me.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I live in San Francisco and make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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